HETL Laboratory Sections

Licenses Issued:

Independent Clinical Laboratory, Substance of Abuse Testing Laboratory, Health Screening Laboratory Service

Certificates Issued:

Blood Alcohol Analyst, Drug Analyst, Breath Alcohol Testing Equipment, Water Testing Laboratory, OUI- Drug Analyst

Clinical Microbiology

CLIA Laboratory Director: Dr. Daniel Jones daniel.jones@maine.gov (207) 215-6948
CLIA Microbiology Supervisor/Technical Lead: Nick Matluk MS, MB (ASCP)CM Nicholas.Matluk@maine.gov (207) 287-6736
CLIA Quality Assurance Officer: Sarah Carey Sarah.Carey@maine.gov (207) 287-5679
Virology/Serology/Respiratory Section: Lori Webber Lori.Webber@maine.gov (207) 287-1722
TB/Rabies Section: Jared Peters Jared.Peters@maine.gov (207) 287-1706
Molecular Biology/WGS/PFGE/Bacteriology/Blood Lead Section: Heather Grieser BS, MB (ASCP) CM Heather.Grieser@maine.gov (207) 287-5769
LRN-B Program Advisor/Biological Terrorism Coordinator Nick Matluk MS, MB (ASCP)CM Nicholas.Matluk@maine.gov (207) 287-6736

Virology/Serology Section:

Identifies viral agents from clinical specimens for herpes simplex virus, influenza A and B viruses, parainfluenza viruses, enterovirus, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, cytomegalovirus, varicella zoster and mumps. Performs serotyping of all influenza isolates. Serologic testing includes a wide variety of viral and non-viral agents such as rubella, measles, mumps, chickenpox, HIV-1, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus, syphilis, hepatitis B, and C, Toxoplasma gondii , cryptococcus, and arboviruses including West Nile, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, and Saint Louis Encephalitis viruses.

Bacteriology Section:

Process urine and genital specimens for Chlamydia and gonorrhoeae by amplified DNA probe; analyze foods for foodborne bacteria that cause disease; identifies miscellaneous bacteria as well as those that require special procedures; Bacteria causing whooping cough, meningitis, plague and brucellosis, typhoid fever, bacillary dysentery, Yersiniosis, botulism and gas gangrene. Cryptosporidium and Giardia testing can be performed routinely. During outbreak situations, please call the bacteriology section to make arrangements for any parasitology testing.

TB/Rabies Section:

TB: The HETL is the only laboratory in the state of Maine that performs identification testing on all mycobacterium species, most notably Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC).  Clinical specimens are cultured using solid media (Lowenstein-Jensen, LJ) and liquid media (BACTEC MGIT 960 System, modified Middlebrook 7H-9 broth).  For a preliminary MTBC identification, this section utilizes real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on respiratory clinical samples including bronchial lavage, bronchial wash, and sputum.   Mycobacterial growth is identified by AccuProbe Culture Identification Test or by 16S DNA sequencing.  MTBC drug susceptibility testing is performed at the California Microbial Diseases Laboratory and any non-tuberculosis mycobacterium (NTM) can be sent to a reference laboratory for drug susceptibility testing.

Rabies: The HETL is also the only laboratory in the state of Maine to perform rabies testing.  Following the Federal CDC guidelines, the HETL uses the direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) test to accurately and quickly diagnose the rabies virus in a suspected animal.   

Molecular Diagnostics and Methods Development Section:

Working closely with the various sections within the microbiology division at HETL and MeCDC, the molecular diagnostic/methods development section implements and supports various diagnostic tests. The section's primary role is to identify, optimize, implement and support complex testing within the microbiology section. Generally, these tests utilize nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT's) for the detection of human pathogens and include polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).  Tests implemented to date include NAAT's for: Bordetella pertussis, parapertussis and holmesii, Campylobacter jejuni/coli, Clostridium difficile, Cryptosporidium spp. Listeria monocytogenes, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Neisseria meningitidis, Vibrio cholerae, Vibrio parahemolyticus, Salmonella spp. Enterovirus, Herpes Simplex Virus 1 & 2, Measles, Mumps, Norovirus Genogroups I &II, Varicella-Zoster Virus, E. coli O157:H7/ Shigatoxin 1 and 2, and Influenza Virus A/B including novel Influenza strains. The section also utilizes 16S sequencing for identification of bacteria as well as Pyrosequencing for detection of drug resistance markers in influenza A subtypes.  The molecular section oversees HETL's commitment as a participating laboratory of US CDC's PulseNet for various foodbourne illnesses associated with Salmonella, E. coli, Shigella and Campylobacter. The molecular diagnostic/methods development section performs and supports WNV/SLE/EEE human, animal and vector testing. Additionally, the section has oversight responsibility for childhood blood lead testing and the testing of various human clinical specimens for specific toxic metals. Lastly, the molecular section plays a lead role in the rapid implementation of various clinical diagnostic assays on an as needed basis for the protection of public health.

Forensic Chemistry:

Contact person: Lauren C. Niskach 287-1708

The mission of the Forensic Chemistry Section is to provide accurate, reliable, timely, and state of the art scientific analysis and subsequent expert testimony in the areas of controlled substances and toxicology. The service is provided primarily to Criminal Justice Agencies of the State of Maine in regard to evidence submitted by them, although the Forensic Director may authorize the occasional acceptance of other work related to governmental agency investigations.

Program Support Activities

Public Safety Solid Dose Drug identification for law enforcement agencies, certification of analysts for drug identification, blood and breath alcohol analyses, certification of phlebotomists for blood alcohol testing, certification of analysts for alcohol testing, approval and repair of intoxilyzers, and certification of analysts for OUI-drug testing.

More detailed information

Environmental Protection Sections

Environmental Organics:

Contact person: Edward Adams 287-6433

The Organics section is a combination of the pesticides/organics laboratory of the Public Health Lab and the Organics section of the DEP lab. Utilizing highly sophisticated techniques such as gas chromatography and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, this section analyzes water samples, soils, leachates, organic chemicals such as PCBs and volatiles, and for pesticides.

Environmental Inorganics and Nutrients:

Contact person: Mackenzie Lee 287-6366

The Inorganic and Nutrient Analysis section comprises much of the former water laboratory section as well as the DEP heavy metals and nutrients labs. Two distinct sections are included: (1.) Drinking Water and (2.) Environmental. Testing includes drinking water from both public utilities and from private wells, for safety and for other contaminants. It also tests a large range of environmental samples for similar contaminants.

For more information: Enviromental Test Guide (Word)

Radiochemistry, Radon Testing Section:

The Radiochemistry Section analyzes a variety of environmental samples for the radiation control program to detect both man-made and naturally occurring radioactive material.

Additionally, radiochemistry conducts radon testing both in air and water by liquid scintillation, and analyzes water samples for gross alpha levels. The latter program is to assure compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. The section holds accreditation through the EPA.

Please visit radiation.htm for a Radiation Test Guide and Order Form .

Lead Section:

Maine's Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (MCLPPP) has implemented the Centers for Disease Control's recommendation to screen for childhood lead poisoning using blood lead level analysis. Consistent with State Law, 22 MRSA Section 1317, the HETL provides all blood lead testing in Maine. In addition to blood lead analyses, environmental testing is also provided. All data associated with a child (blood and/or environmental) can be linked to provide adequate case management.

More detailed information